Raised on a barstool, Charlee spends her youth drinking in the dark dives of New England and Montreal with a father who flees from woman to woman. As an adult, in one of her father's haunts, she encounters the man whose flaws and attractions will make her face every emotion that confounded her dad. She longs for companionship, but from her father she has learned to trust only her own will and crave solitude. Can she overcome a life of defiant independence and her distrust of affection?
Walley's daring prose style allows the writer to make Charlee's rough but endearing past immediate and vital in her present.
"I often think the truth," Charlee supposes, "was that my father lost me in a card game. He was losing; indeed, he lost everything. The men are all sitting around the bar, and this card game is a secret, all-consuming vice of my father's. He will do anything to keep in the game. And he says, 'Okay, I've got nothing except my daughter. When she's eighteen, you can have her. You can take her and do whatever the hell you like.'"
Populated with tough, brilliant characters who crisscross New England, Strings Attached is a novel about the search for love, about the possibilities and impossibilities of that quest. Walley says, "These searching characters fall away and toward each other, as we do in every love affair, and come to their ultimate truths."
Originally from Canada, Gay Walley is a freelance writer living in New York. Her fiction has appeared in many magazines including Fiction and America One. Strings Attached was a finalist for the Pirate's Alley/Faulkner Award.